Wednesday, February 08, 2006

New Deal for DC Baseball

From the Washington Post:

The D.C. Council voted to reject a baseball stadium lease agreement last night, then reconsidered four hours later and approved the deal after a plea from Mayor Anthony A. Williams and a threat from Major League Baseball President Robert A. DuPuy.

The dramatic about-face came at 12:40 this morning after the council added its own price cap to the lease, limiting the District's spending to $611 million for the project along the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington. With the cap in place, the council voted 9 to 4 for emergency legislation that approved the lease deal.

It was not clear whether baseball would endorse the spending cap, but Williams's aides said the mayor supported the council's final plan.

...The legislation allows an additional $20 million contribution Major League Baseball promised in December to go toward the project. All other costs must be covered by the Nationals' future ownership group, developers or federal sources, the legislation said.

...Although the council approved a $535 million stadium financing package in December 2004, recent estimates from city financial officials put the cost at $667 million.

Hopefully this will lead to a less expensive stadium, not just attempts to suck money out of the federal budget to cover basic costs.

A more detailed account of last night's negotiations and votes can be found here.

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